Our Way Forward

Andrew Biggs

Last month we celebrated the festival of Pentecost - the day on which the Holy Spirit came amongst the apostles and the gathered crowd of people bringing about a profound transformation in them, from a scared and frightened group hiding away from the authorities to a confident and empowered group of evangelists who went out to take the word of Christ and transform the world in the process. Since that time the church has continued to take the word of Christ to people everywhere and the Holy Spirit has worked through it to bring about transformation and change, enabling the love of Christ to be shared and people to experience a glimpse of the kingdom of God.

The Holy Spirit has never been static. It constantly urges us on to new ways of worship and sharing the gospel, reaching out to more people in different ways. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the work, that we forget to stop and listen to the changing wind of the Spirit: “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit” so says John 3:8. When that happens we can turn around and suddenly notice that the Sprit is blowing in a different direction and, if we are not careful, we can get left behind. We can also become exhausted if we continue to try and run against the wind.

So it is right that we should at times slow down and take stock and reflect upon where the Holy Spirit may be taking us next. This is especially the case when we notice that the work we have been faithfully committed to over many years seems to be declining or even ceasing. At such times it can feel as if we are failing but that is not the case at at all. It may be that what God is actually saying is “Well done good and faithful servant”, and after a time, “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?”

Over the past few months we have, as a church, had several opportunities to reflect upon our current situation and our journey with God. These have included the Worship Forum in the Autumn which looked at All Age Worship; the meeting held at the end of January to look at our ‘Self Promotion’; the meeting with Circuit Representatives held in March to consider the Circuit’s Vision and Strategy for Mission, and our place within the new proposals for the organisation of the Circuit; our General Church Meeting in April as well as our Church Council Meetings. In addition the Stewards have continued to reflect upon and try to put into practice some of the ideas put forward. You may have seen the lovely and informative new leaflet which will be used to advertise our Church at the Hucclecote Community Day and elsewhere, and the new banners for the fence . In addition we have tried out services at different times and with different approaches to gauge what might be helpful in enabling more people to participate and engage with worship.

There have been many good new ideas put forward and we have tried to explore some of them. But I have put forward the view that we should not jump into a frenzy of new activity at the present time, but should take some time to rest, to reflect, to pray and to listen to where the Holy Spirit may be blowing next for us to follow. Hence I have promoted the Holy Habits project.

If you were at the GCM you will have seen the videos that explain Holy Habits but if you missed it you can watch them at the link below. I have talked previously about the book ‘Holy Habits’ by Andrew Roberts and how he has identified 10 Holy Habits mentioned with the passage from Acts 2 42-47. He points out that these habits, formed by the earliest Christian community as they explored what it really mean to be Christians in a hostile world, are the basis of what our work is about, and that whenever the church concentrates on these it tends to grow.

The Birmingham District took this on as a project to promote the Holy Habits in churches across the District and subsequently have published through BRF a set of resources for each Holy Habit. The suggestion is that churches spend two months focussing on each habit across the church. I have suggested that we adopt this project for our church over the next couple of years as we reflect on Holy Habits as a means of guiding our reflections on where the Holy Spirit may be leading us at this time. This not about diving into a ‘frenzy of new activity’ as I mentioned earlier, but simply about creating a few opportunities to focus on each Holy Habit and encouraging church groups to explore the Holy Habits within their own programmes. You will hear more about this but in the meantime please consider joining the planning team which will be essential to its success.

There will be an initial meeting for anyone interested in helping to plan Holy Habits on September 26th. My hope is that we will have enough people that different teams may plan each habit which will help to spread the load. In the mean time if you are interested or would like to know more please speak to me or have a look at the web site.

http://www.holyhabits.co.uk/holy-habits-downloads

Blessings

Andrew

And now I make all thihngs new. Rev 21:5